Via Facebook I learned a lot about a friend of mine, which I’ve only seen 3 times in real life (but we also chat sometimes). Fatima loves Jane Austen, Edgar Allen Poe and many other great writers. She currently studies English & is aspiring to become an English teacher (which I love). She also mentioned that she loves to receive mail, but doesn’t get much. Perfect opportunity!
I decided on a French/English/books theme and sent her a brown kraft envelope with a sticker of a camel & a very (very) old, used stamp from India and Alice in Wonderland (yep, I love my stamps).
Included are: a letter, a vintage photograph of Maison Hameau, the cottage of Marie-Antoinette (which I found in an antique shop last year), a sticker with a Victorian chair, a vintage dinnerplate sticker, a button sticker, old stamps, a sticker of a bookcase, a quote by Virginia Woolf, some hearts from a map of France & some other paper goodies. I sealed the envelope shut with my wax seal.
You got e-mail! It’s Sofia from the USA and she wants to snailmail with you! You get excited, dreaming away about the lovely snailmail you will receive from Sofia… But; she wants you to go first! Now what?
Depending on your snailmailpal, you might want to discuss a theme. This makes the snailmail more coherent and the content a lot more fun to compile. Once a theme is set, you can start. I like to start with the letter first. Get a nice piece of notebook paper, stationary or whatever you feel comfortable with. I’ll stamp the paper first with an inkstamp, so my writing will go over the stamp (instead of the other way around).
Get your favorite pen and sit down, breathe and try to relax and let your mind flow. Ask about your penpal, but don’t overdo it. Keep in mind that your questions depend on how much contact you had trough mail or chat. Here’s a little start:
I am very happy that you would like to snailmail with me! It is very cold down here, there’s even a lot of snow.
How’s the weather over there? Currently I am drinking strawberry tea and listening to some folk music.
Do you like tea? Or are you more a coffee person? And what type of music do you like?
You can continue in this matter, but ofcourse it depends completely on your mood & style. It can be difficult to write 2 or 3 full pages, so I always write one page on my first snailmail. Here is a list of keep-in-minds when writing your very first snailmail.
Your penpal is not a diary. Respond to the letter received, instead of writing a complete new story
Keep it light, especially on your first snailmail. Once you feel comfortable enough, you can write about things that worry or scare you
Don’t ask too much questions. Your penpal also wants to tell a story, not answer quizzes through mail
Stick to the theme. You both agreed on this theme, if you choose to ignore it, your penpal will feel disappointed
Don’t feel a connection? Let your penpal know, this is a normal and polite thing to do (instead of keeping her waiting)
It’s called snailmail for a reason. Don’t rush!
Take your time to answer your penpal with thoughtful mail, put your heart in it
In my lifetime, I wrote with many pens. From the ordinary Bic ballpoint to the more luxurious fountain-pen. In school we used the latter, in highschool we switched to the ballpoints (or whatever you found most comfortable). Some of my classmates wrote with colored gellpens. I preferred the fountain-pen (love-hate relationship, because of inkt leaking), but last year I finally found the perfect pen: Uni-Ball Gel Impact Broad 1.0 Rollerball Pen. It is a mouthfull, but believe me: this is not a pretentious pen. I borrowed this pen from a co-worker and was hooked.
This pen needs no pressure (in contrast to the ballpoint, which I never liked), flows on paper and releases just the write amount of inkt. It makes my handwriting really pretty & I love it. Sadly it is nowhere to be found in the local stores here, not even in the big department stores. They come in red, blue & black (I love black the most, but also have used the blue one). It can be ordered online, but only in bulk. And as much as I love it, I’m not spending hundreds of dollars on a lot of pens. So I bought mine on E-bay. It was about $4. I am not sure if it is refillable, I have to look into that.
If you are still looking for the one, you might want to give this pen a try. Because this pen is a little hard to get your hands on, try your local paperstores first, before turning to eBay. Do you have a favorite pen? And if so, which one is it?
My online quest was succesfull: I found some snailmail friends! We didn’t decide on a theme, so I just went with it. I will not tell what is inside the packages, they need to arrive first. And yes; I did take some pictures this time. Here’s the first batch.
It features an Alice in Wonderland stamp, some of my new washi tape, a retro stamp & a swallow stamp! And now: let’s wait for the replies coming in!
Do you also want to receive a nice snailmail package? Send me one!
Request my address via email@example.com or the contactform..
Getting things for free is always fun. And why waste another dime when you can download your own free stationary right here? That’s right; I created some lovely vintage stationary for you to download. It is A4 sized and can be printed at home (or at the local printing business) as many times as you like.
This set contains 2 A4 sized downloads, so you’ll have different sheets of paper to use for snail mailing, sending a letter to your loved one or writing your pen pal overseas. It has many different elements, like a compass, a ship, an old map, some splatters, a whale & lots more. Download, print & you are ready to go. Remember to adjust the margin/padding settings on your printer to none/0!
Enjoy the sneak preview below. One more thing: show me what you’ve created with these!